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Putin, Xi launch 'historic' Russian gas pipeline to China

Putin, Xi launch 'historic' Russian gas pipeline to China”

Turk Stream - which will carry Russian gas to Turkey and southeastern Europe - is scheduled to start exports early January, and the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline linking Russia with Germany is set for a delayed launch in mid-2020, after the project received its final approval permit from Denmark in November.

The pipeline, which Putin has called "the world's biggest construction project", crowns years of tough negotiations and work in hard conditions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin launched the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline at an event, which they attended via video-link on Monday.

The Russian part of the pipeline, which started construction on September 1, 2014, links the Kovyktin and Chayandin gas fields in Siberia with the eastern port city of Vladivostok, covering a total distance of almost 4,000 kilometers.

"Russia is not only creating new income streams, but hedging its bets and bolstering its position strategically", said energy analyst Andrew Hill.

The initial phase of the pipeline was built in just five years, after the China National Petroleum Corp signed a deal worth $400 billion with Russian energy giant Gazprom in May 2014.

This is conducive to the realization of a Russia-China trade volume of 200 billion USA dollars in 2024, Putin said. It was Gazprom's biggest contract.

Hailing the five-year toil of construction teams from both countries on the project under extreme weather and the completion on schedule, Putin said Russian Federation will provide 1 trillion cubic meters of natural gas to China in the next 30 years.

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"The pipeline route passes through swampy, mountainous, seismically active, permafrost and rocky areas with extreme environmental conditions", a statement on Gazprom's website said.

Work has also been completed on the first road bridge between Russian Federation and China, further linking the two neighbours.

The Power of Siberia launch came amid continued wrangling over Nord Stream 2.

Xi called it "a milestone project for the bilateral energy cooperation".

The €9.5 billion ($10.6-billion) pipeline has faced opposition from countries in eastern and central Europe, the United States and particularly Ukraine because it is likely to increase Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas.

"It will never pay for itself", Krutikhin told AFP.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is expected to open within months - as is a third pipeline in the south called TurkStream, which will bring gas from facilities near Anapa, Russia, across the Black Sea to Turkey, making landfall between Istanbul and the Bulgarian border.

The European Commission's push to rewrite the EU's Third Gas Directive is doomed, but Brussels has not withdrawn its proposal because it is preparing a "grand bargain" with Russian Federation, experts told a EURACTIV event on Wednesday (5 September).



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